Running back Malcolm Jones, the Gatorade national player of the year as a senior at Westlake Village Oaks Christian High, appears headed to another season of limited action.
Jones, a sophomore, played briefly against Texas and had one carry for six yards against Houston. Unless he is injured, he cannot redshirt.
“You always want to get more time,” Jones said. “It’s just the way it goes. If I’m not playing as much as I would like, that’s fine. I’m still only a sophomore. I have a couple more years left.”
Jones played in 11 games last season and gained 200 yards in 55 carries.
But, like last season, Jones sits behind Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman on the depth chart. Franklin, a junior, gained 1,127 yards a year ago and leads the team with 267 this season. Coleman, a senior, has 199 yards and averages 7.1 yards a carry this season.
UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel called Jones “our No. 3 tailback.” Jordon James, who sat out as a redshirt in 2010, is getting time at running back as well as playing F-back in games.
Neuheisel said Jones “is valuable.” But for now, “we got a nice one-two punch going. We haven’t had the luxury of getting a lot people extra reps. His time will come and he will shine.”
Jones said that not being able to redshirt this season “was not a problem. I’m getting another year of experience.”
And this season is not over yet, Neuheisel pointed out.
“It’s early in the season; we’ve only played 25%" of the games, Neuheisel said. “There will be lots of chances. Malcolm will turn into a very valuable guy very shortly.”
Neuheisel said what he needs from quarterback Richard Brehaut against Oregon State on Saturday is consistency.
“We make lots of plays that have been on [highlight shows]. We just don’t make them as consistently as the good teams do,” Neuheisel said.
“We’re sixth in the conference in total offense and yet we’re 11th in third-down percentage. If you stay on the field, you run more plays and can be more productive.”
Meanwhile, freshman quarterback Brett Hundley continues to have his workload increased during practice.
Defensive tackle Cassius Marsh and tackle Torian White got into a fight during practice that took a few players to break up.
“People are playing hard, people are getting angry, people fighting, it’s football,” Neuheisel said. “It warms your heart if you’re into that sort of thing.”
Free safety Tony Dye (general soreness) and cornerback Andrew Abbott (concussion) did not practice. Dye is expected to play Saturday. … Freshman defensive lineman Kevin McReynolds was held out of practice because of a concussion. … Oregon State wide receiver James Rodgers will play Saturday, but running back Malcolm Agnew is doubtful because of a hamstring injury. Agnew gained 223 yards in the Beavers’ season-opening loss to Sacramento State.